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Will Kaine End the Virginia Drought?

Washington Post editors

If Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) selects Timothy M. Kaine (D) as his running mate, the Virginia governor would be the first politician from the state on a major-party national ticket in many years.

First, let's dispense with a caveat: Yes, Woodrow Wilson was born in Virginia. But his political career was launched in New Jersey before he was elected president as a Democrat in 1912 and reelected in 1916.

The last time a politician based in Virginia was nominated by a major party for its national ticket was in 1840. That year, the Whigs nominated former Virginia governor and senator John Tyler to be William Henry Harrison's running mate.

Even with Tyler as a vice presidential nominee, Harrison couldn't carry Virginia. The state voted instead to reelect President Martin Van Buren. But the Harrison-Tyler team nevertheless won an Electoral College landslide.

Harrison died one month after taking the oath of office, making Tyler the first vice president to become president because of the death of an incumbent.

In an interview this morning on WTOP radio, Kaine sought to play down speculation he could be the first Virginia-based politician in more than a century to join a major party ticket.

"I am extremely gratified with how well (Obama) has done and especially how well he may be able to do in Virginia, and that is my focus," said Kaine. "That is how I can think I can be most helpful."

By Washington Post editors  |  July 29, 2008; 11:08 AM ET
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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Comments

The VA Lt. Gov is a Republican. So, if Kaine gets elected as VP, it will turn the statehouse over to the GOP. That's a problem

Posted by: Alexandria | July 29, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Alexandria: It would be a gamble, but it's worth assessing the risk. Candidates have already pushed Virginia into the 2009 election cycle. There will be another Governor a year after the 2008 election; and it can't be Kaine anyway.

There's no succession problem.

ARTICLE V

Executive

Section 1. Executive power; Governor's term of office.

...He shall be ineligible to the same office for the term next succeeding that for which he was elected, and to any other office during his term of service.

But Lt. Gov. Bolling has announced he will seek re-election to his current office. If he does become Governor, he could always change his mind; which would make Bob McDonnell very unhappy.

Plus, it would give Jim Gilmore another office to run for. Democrats would love that.

So it's not guaranteed that Kaine leaving, hands the Governorship over to the Republicans for more than that one year.

Posted by: NoVA | July 29, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Kaine will be the perfect choice for Obama. It will ensure Obama's defeat. Weak presidential candidate with an equally weak VP candidate. Got to love how he would lead the country.

Posted by: Juan | July 29, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Kaine creates more questions for Obama than answers. Yes, he is young, Catholic, and comes from a traditional red state, but are their any VA Republicans or Independents that will be swayed to vote for Obama based on Kaine's appearance on the ticket? Anyone outside the Commonwealth?

Posted by: FunFax | July 29, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

First, I support Senator Obama.

Having said that, I think Kaine adds nothing to the ticket. I doubt the 13 electoral votes in Virginia will fall to a black male because of Kaine. Didn't Kaine just get kicked in the behind by the state legislature in the special session? Kaine is too new and too inexperienced with a record of failure from his couple of years as Governor.

If you are going to go with newness, there is always Senator Casey of Pennsylvania and that state's 21 electoral votes. He is worth a gamble.

If it is foreign policy experience you want then there is always Senator Biden of Delaware and Republican Senator Hagel of Nebraska. With Biden, you get a track record; with Hagel, you also get a track record plus headlines for a month or more.

Kaine adds nothing, but then what do I know. I am only a voter.

Posted by: New Era | July 29, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I FULLY AGREE WITH THE COMMENTS MADE BY "NEW ERA". I ALSO SUPPORT OBAMA AND WOULD QUESTION KAINE. WHY ADD ANOTHER ALLEGATION OF INEXPERIENCE TO THE TICKET? IF HE WANTS VIRGINIA, HE SHOULD HAVE GONE WITH WEBB. I ALSO AGREE WITH CHOOSING BOB CASEY IN PA, OR EVEN ED RENDELL (LAW AND ORDER ALWAYS SELLS TO INDEPENDENTS.)

LASTLY, BIDEN OR HAGEL GIVE HIM FOREIGN POLICY EXPERTISE, BUT BIDEN HAS SAID PUBLICALLY HE WOULD WELCOME McCAINE AS A NATIONAL LEADER (HE SAID HE WOULD BE HAPPY TO HAVE HIM AS HIS VP RUNNINGMATE, BUT HIS PRAISE MAKES IT HARD FOR HIM TO FIGHT BACK.)

HAVE WE COMPLETELY RULED OUT HILLARY? I GUESS SO, BUT I THINK THAT IS A MISTAKE. SHE WOULD BE THE "BENSON" TO THE GOP'S "QUAIL" IN THIS RACE, AND WOULD DOMINATE THE DEBATES AGAINST ALMOST ANYONE THEY HAVE.

THANKS FOR LETTING ME VENT.

Posted by: PA TRANSPLANT | July 29, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

The crystal ball is too small to see all of the future falling dominos, but if Kaine gets selected as VP, then it puts a possible monkey wrench in Mark Warner's plans.

If McCain wins, Mark Warner runs hard in 2012. Or eight years of Obama is more than OK for Senator Mark, but then 2016 is a different stage with Vice President Tim Kaine looking to step up and facing Mark Warner for the nomination.

So is that why attack poodle Ben Tribbett is coming out against Kaine, did Auntie Mame sic him?

Posted by: Attack poodle come out? | July 30, 2008 8:53 PM | Report abuse

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